marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
You can now preorder the hardcover of The Harbors of the Sun at Amazon US, Chapters Indigo, Books a Million, Amazon UK, and Indiebound. The ebook will show up for preorder closer to the release date.


A former friend has betrayed the Raksura and their groundling companions, and now the survivors must race across the Three Worlds to rescue their kidnapped family members. When Moon and Stone are sent ahead to scout, they quickly encounter an unexpected and potentially deadly ally, and decide to disobey the queens and continue the search alone. Following in a wind-ship, Jade and Malachite make an unlikely alliance of their own, until word reaches them that the Fell are massing for an attack on the Reaches, and that forces of the powerful Empire of Kish are turning against the Raksura and their groundling comrades.

But there may be no time to stage a rescue, as the kidnapped Raksura discover that their captors are heading toward a mysterious destination with a stolen magical artifact that will cause more devastation for the Reaches than anything the lethal Fell can imagine. To stop them, the Raksura will have to take the ultimate risk and follow them into forbidden territory.

The paperback of The Edge of Worlds can be preordered at Barnes and Noble and Amazon and all the other Amazons.
marthawells: (Default)


The cover reveal for The Harbors of the Sun is at with a bonus interview.

The gorgeous art is by Yukari Masuike

ETA: and it's now available for preorder in hardcover!
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
The description of The Harbors of the Sun is up but there still isn't a preorder option for it.

It's the sequel to The Edge of Worlds and the final book in the series.

A former friend has betrayed the Raksura and their groundling companions, and now the survivors must race across the Three Worlds to rescue their kidnapped family members. When Moon and Stone are sent ahead to scout, they quickly encounter an unexpected and potentially deadly ally, and decide to disobey the queens and continue the search alone. Following in a wind-ship, Jade and Malachite make an unlikely alliance of their own, until word reaches them that the Fell are massing for an attack on the Reaches, and that forces of the powerful Empire of Kish are turning against the Raksura and their groundling comrades.

But there may be no time to stage a rescue, as the kidnapped Raksura discover that their captors are heading toward a mysterious destination with a stolen magical artifact that will cause more devastation for the Reaches than anything the lethal Fell can imagine. To stop them, the Raksura will have to take the ultimate risk and follow them into forbidden territory.

* The Edge of Worlds is also up for preorder in paperback. It's already available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.

* Also there's more new fan art on the Compendium: a drawing of Frost, by Katriona Seallach on DeviantArt

* On Saturday, September 17, 2016, at 7:30 CST I'll be doing and online reading and an interview as part of The Pixel Project's Read for Pixels Fall Edition

* On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at 4:30 I'll be doing a talk on worldbuilding and a Q&A session as part of the Hal Hall Lecture Series sponsored by Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, at TAMU.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
I've posted new fan art to the Books of the Raksura Compendium on my web site:

It's "When Moon first encounters Stone in The Cloud Roads" by Samantha Majumder. Samantha says: One of my favorite 'scenes' was when Moon encounters Stone for the first time and gets chased around a floating island a bit before he flies down to cling to the underside of the island and escapes. I enjoyed that part so much I painted what I thought the scene might look like with acrylic and watercolor and would like to show you as well. I attached a scan of the fan art to this email. I aimed to reflect how threatening Stone appeared to Moon as he was chased. Also, the cover art of your book influenced the yellow tinted sky.

Thanks to Samantha!

If anyone wants me to link to or post their Raksura art on the compendium, just let me know.
marthawells: (Reading)

I have five codes to give away for free downloads of the audiobook of The Edge of Worlds, narrated by Chris Kipiniak, from You can listen to a sample here.

To enter: Comment on this post (at Live Journal, Dreamwidth, or the GoodReads feed) and tell me why you want it. (The drawing is random and I'm not judging you, it just makes it more interesting to read the entries that way.) You'll also be able to enter on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, but please only enter once (in total, not once on each site).

I'll be drawing the winners on Friday morning, July 1, 2016.

(I'd also really appreciate it if people left reviews, on Amazon, B&N, GoodReads, or LibraryThing (or just added the book to their lists there) but it isn't necessary to enter or win.)
marthawells: (Default)
So, last weekend I had a somewhat sore back from being in an unstable position while trying to keep a box from falling, then Tuesday evening my back gave out while I was getting out of the bathtub and probably got a torn ligament. It was extremely painful, like getting a small electric shock in the back, and I almost fainted. So, that happened.

Then Thursday I went to Comicpalooza. I had a cane and a back brace and a lot of Aleve, and my husband was helping me. At that point, I could walk and sit but couldn't pick things up off the floor or do things like put my shoes on, but it got gradually better over the weekend. We got to the con, got our passes, and then I rested in the room until friends came to pick us up to go to dinner. (It was a place near the hotel that served Chinese and Vietnamese food and it was delicious.)

Friday I hobbled down the skybridge and did my two panels and managed to eat lunch down on the convention floor near the maker faire but didn't really get to see anything. After my second panel I was pretty much out of it so we went back to the room. I felt better by the time we needed to go down to meet J. Kathleen Cheney and Michelle Muenzler for dinner and hanging out in the bar afterward. It turns out rum is a great muscle relaxant.

Saturday I did my panel and a signing, and spent the rest of the time hanging out with friends who had come in for the con. I got to see the Orion capsule in the big NASA exhibit, my husband bought me a small light-up Atlantis Stargate that is awesome, I got a t-shirt with Rey from Star Wars and a NASA t-shirt, and saw a lot of costumes. Then we met up with a big group for dinner. I did pretty well that day, and was able to walk in the dealers room for about an hour and a half. One of the friends was [personal profile] pentapus who did some fabulous Raksura art for me during the panel.

Sunday I was done with programming, so we went through the artists alley until I started to feel bad, but as we were leaving my husband stopped and got me an autograph from Peter Mayhew, who is also awesome. (He was sitting next to Carl Weathers, who is extremely cool too.) Then we took off for home.

This was a contest where robots had to attack that castle.

marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
(I'm reposting this essay I wrote a couple of months ago because I found it again and I really like it.)

It took two years to sell the completed manuscript of The Cloud Roads to a publisher. (My agent was the one doing all the work. I was just sitting at home writing The Serpent Sea and Emilie and the Hollow World (which didn’t have a publisher either at that time), and quietly freaking out.) But one of the comments my agent got back on The Cloud Roads was that it was hard to follow.

If you’ve read it, you know it’s not a multi-character, multi-storyline epic. Moon is the only POV and the story is pretty linear. After talking to other readers about it for a while, I think the reason for that comment was the Raksura’s gender neutral names.

For me, this was a feature, not a bug. I found it hard to talk about the bisexuality or pansexuality of the characters when they had no concept of heterosexuality, so I tried in various ways to show it. And our concepts of gender don’t map exactly onto the Raksura’s concepts of gender. Using gender neutral names helped me keep that in mind while I was writing. But for some people it was too confusing; they had to assign a gender to identify who the character was.

There were other things people didn’t like. Raksura form intensely close bonds with each other, but are not romantic in the way most earth humans would interpret it. The closest they come to kissing is biting, and they don’t say to each other “I love you.” The queens and consorts are the only ones who form single permanent sexual relationships that we would recognize as marriages, and even they aren’t exclusive with each other. (Though a consort wouldn’t sleep with another queen unless he wanted to start a war.) Moon is the only Raksura in the book who has seen any other type of relationship, and even he only has an outsider’s understanding of them.

For infertile warriors and fertile Arbora, sexual relationships are friendly and casual. Having children is a serious business, and partners are selected with a lot of attention toward the court’s bloodlines and what the court needs. But the relationships between Arbora child-bearing partners aren’t exclusive and aren’t marriages, the way we’d think of marriages, and children are raised communally. (When it’s normal to give birth to five babies at one time, it takes an organized segment of the community to take care of all of them.)

The entire court is basically a very large, often cranky, extended family.

I had beta readers for The Cloud Roads who tried to see the Raksuran relationships as marriages and nuclear families, and it just didn’t work for them because the relationships didn’t make sense that way. To me, trying to see the relationships of your flying lizard ant lion people as being exactly like earth human relationships was what didn’t make sense.
marthawells: (Manly Hug)
If you're on Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook, you may have seen yesterday that I finished the first draft of The Harbors of the Sun. It needs a lot of revision, and the first and second chapters may switch places, but the principal photography is done, basically. It's the fifth Raksura novel, and the seventh book, counting the two novella collections. I'd take some time off, but I don't actually have time to take some time off.

Also, yesterday I posted the 14th Raksura story for the Patreon, where Malachite meets the Sky Copper clutch:


Coming up on June 17-19, I'll be at Comicpalooza in Houston. It's a comiccon, with actors and media guests, and a huge dealer's room and artist's alley plus a small makerfaire, but it also has a full schedule of literary and writing panels (like 50 of them) and a large number of writer guests.

I'll be on:

- Friday 11:30 to 12:30 Outlandish Others: How Genre Fiction Employs Androids, Elves, and other non-human Races
Carrie Patel, Tex Thompson, Donna Grant, Martha Wells

- Friday 2:30 to 3:30 Young Adult Fantasy
Joy Preble, J.L. Clark, Katherine Catmull, Angela Holder, Martha Wells

- Saturday 11:00 to 12:00 Plotting and Pacing a Short Story
Ken Liu, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, C. Stuart Hardwick, Martha Wells


Con or Bust

Today is the first day of the Con or Bust Fundraising Auction to help people of color/non-white people attend SF/F conventions. There are tons of great items to bid on, like signed books, art, jewelry, flash fiction, and critiques.

My items are here. (A signed set of the two Stories of the Raksura books, a signed copy of The Edge of Worlds, and an audiobook CD set of Wheel of the Infinite.
marthawells: (John and Ronon)
Quick post, because I'm still flailing around while revising and finishing off The Harbors of the Sun for its June 1 deadline.

Air conditioning: still broke while we're waiting on a compressor. Luckily it's been rainy and cool off and on.

* There are now MP3 CDs available of the audiobooks of The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea. I don't know about the when/if the others will show up in this format. Hopefully they will?

* An audiobook for The Harbors of the Sun is coming, still not sure of the date. Hopefully in June sometime.

* I did an unlocked Patreon post to answer a question about Raksura naming conventions.

* There's a post here by Emu's Debuts about how to help authors. (Request your library to order their books, leave reviews, etc) Reviews (on Amazon and GoodReads) really, really do help, even if you didn't love everything about the book.

I post a lot of random stuff on tumblr if you want to catch me over there.


Apr. 21st, 2016 10:25 am
marthawells: (Teyla)
Facebook does a thing where they show you posts that you made on this date however many years ago, as a "Facebook Memory" (and yes, this goes horribly wrong when it reminds you of terrible things that happened). Today my memory post was:

April 21, 2010 ·

started writing another new book today, because hope seems to spring eternal.

The book I'm talking about there is actually The Siren Depths. At this point, I'd already written The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea, as well as Emilie and the Hollow World, and none of them had sold. (I'd also written the beginnings of a handful of novels that all died on the vine.) The Cloud Roads had been making the rounds of publishers since around August of 2008 and was being rejected because they couldn't understand it or couldn't sell it because it was weird or because my last book (The Gate of Gods in 2005 hadn't sold well enough) or just no reason in particular. Emilie and the Hollow World was also starting to collect its share of rejections.

On April 21, 2010 and I was still writing, but also in the process of winding down my career, refusing invites to local conventions and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. On June 25, 2010, I got word that Night Shade Books had offered for The Cloud Roads.
marthawells: (Indeed)
So, this is AWESOME: The Edge of Worlds is reviewed in N.K. Jemisin's New York Times book review column.

The venerated pulp spirit in science fiction and fantasy has dwindled since the golden age of the 1920s to ’50s. Yet an atavistic craving for adventure remains, and it is this need that Wells’s books in general and the Raksura books in particular satisfy. The stories are straightforward adventure, but what makes Wells’s “new pulp” feel fresh is its refusal to take the easier storytelling routes of its forebears. Rather than thinly veil an existing human society as alien others, for example, Wells — a master world builder — creates a multicultural world of humanized monsters.

So obviously, I've never been reviewed in the NYT before, and I'm so excited I'm freaking out. I'm trying to get the Raksura Patreon story posted today, and that might be the only thing I get done.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)

The Edge of Worlds is now available in ebook and hardcover, with audiobook to follow at some point soon.

Available at:

Amazon US, Powell's, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, Mysterious Galaxy, Books-a-Million, Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain and all the other Amazons. Order it locally in the US from an independent bookseller through Indiebound. And if you want it signed and personalized, order it before Saturday April 9 from Murder by the Book.

* I have a post on My Favorite Bit about The Edge of Worlds:

* And it's in the new books round-up on Barnes & Noble: (It's a two book duology though, not a trilogy.)
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
(Raksura week: It's like Shark Week, but not as commercially successful.)

This is the official release week for The Edge of Worlds (as opposed to the unofficial release week we had when the hardcover shipped early). The ebook will drop tomorrow, April 5, on the official release day.

Good News: I just found out this morning that it will be an audiobook! I don't know the release date yet, but I'm very relieved. The whole series including the novella collections have all been in audio so far, and I'd hate for the audio-only people to miss out.

Here's our schedule for Raksura Week:

Tuesday, April 5: official release day, when the ebook drops. The hardcover has been showing up in bookstores and shipping from online retailers already, so it should be available everywhere it's going to be now. I'll have a "My Favorite Bit" post on Mary Robinette Kowal's journal. There will also be a special Moon and Stone story for the Raksura Patreon People. And the GoodReads Giveaway will be over and I'll mail the books to the winners.

Wednesday I collapse from stress.

Thursday, April 7 I'll be doing an Ask Me Anything day on Reddit Fantasy

Saturday, April 9: if you want a complete-so-far signed Raksura set, I have a signing for The Edge of Worlds at Murder by the Book in Houston, TX, on Saturday April 9 at 4:30, where I'll be co-signing with J. Kathleen Cheney whose new fantasy is Dreaming Death. You can preorder our books (including all the previous Raksura books and Kathleen's Shores of Spain trilogy) at that link and get them signed and personalized, and then shipped to you.

For today:

Raksura Questions Answers

* Darrell asked: Can you explain why the crossbreeds at Opal Night didn't have the same destructive effects on the colony as the mentor daktis had on Indigo Cloud?

I mentioned this briefly in a previous question, but it's because the pressure of Fell influence comes from the mental control and connections from the progenitor and the strongest rulers in a flight. Raksura can't hear the mental communication from/between the members of a Fell flight, but it is similar to the mental connections a reigning queen has with her court. While the Raksura might not be able to hear Fell communication directed at them, they would be able to sense it without being aware of it, and it would have a bad effect on them. (For example, if you ever encountered a ceiling fan with a broken gear, where it was still trying to turn the fan blades even when you thought it was off, it can emit a sound that you aren't aware of hearing. That sound can give some people headaches, make them sick or upset, upset animals, etc. PSA for people with old overhead fans.)

The half-Fell Raksura can't be connected to a progenitor or a flight, so they aren't broadcasting Fell communication, though they could be adversely affected by it just like other Raksura if it was directed at them.

* subversivegrrl asked: I'm currently reading Stories of the Raksura, and I was struck by something (which you might have addressed elsewhere): Chime plainly misses the abilities he's lost in his shift from Arbora to warrior, but the one thing I haven't seen any mention of is the loss of his fertility. Is that intentional? Or is it perhaps something yet to be addressed?

It’s not something he’s talked to Moon about, but it’s mentioned in Adaptation, the only story (so far) that’s from Chime’s perspective. It takes place right after Chime was changed into a warrior. That story is in Stories of the Raksura: Volume I: The Falling World and The Tale of Indigo and Cloud

I was reminded of some Raksura series trivia the other day that I wanted to write about. Originally, "The Falling World" in Stories of the Raksura I was intended to be a novel instead of a novella. In the story, Jade, Chime, Balm, Song, Root, and Coil go missing while on a trip to another court, and Moon, Stone, and a group of warriors and Arbora go looking for them. In the novel version, instead of finding them where they find them in the novella (trying to be non-spoilery here) they discover Jade's group has been transported out of the Reaches, and have to try to follow them where they've been taken. I turned it into a novella because at that point I didn't think there would ever be another chance to do another novel.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
Just a note, I'll be doing a special slightly longer Moon and Stone story for the Raksura Patreon page ( on April 5, the official release day for The Edge of Worlds (The hardcovers have already been shipping, but that's the day the ebooks drop.)

I also need to do a new book list post, hopefully tomorrow.
marthawells: (Teyla)
winged_kame asked I am definitely interested in a Selis update story sometime!

Unrelated Raksura question, has it/ will it be explained why Stone can't speak in his winged-form? Has he never been able to, or is it something that developed as he got older, along with getting bigger/stronger? Is not being able to speak in their other form a normal variation for Raksura, or it rare/ unique to Stone?

It has to do with his age and is unique to line-grandfathers. It has to do with the way the shapeshifting works and how Raksura basically exist in both forms simultaneously, and move between one and the other. (This comes up a bit in The Dark Earth Below, when Elastan is able to see both their forms simultaneously.) At Stone's age, the barrier between his forms is less substantial, so his shifting is different from the other Raksura, and not being able to talk in his scaled form is one of the effects of it.

Otterb asked You may have answered this already somewhere, but what's a normal Raksura lifespan (if you're not a line-grandfather), and how long are they normally fledglings before they leave the nurseries?

I'm pretty sure I have answered this before, but I looked back through the tag and can't find it, so it's been at least a couple of years! I want to wait on exact numbers, because I'm pretty sure I've worked that out before, and I don't want to contradict myself. It is different for Royal Aeriat, Aeriat, and Arbora, with Aeriat (warriors) having shorter lifespans. They're fledglings for at least twenty to twenty-five turns, depending on when the Arbora decide they've reached physical maturity.

I was thinking about Shade and Moon being considered young consorts. Obviously Shade was born after Moon was separated from the colony in the Fell attack some 40 turns ago. Moon was a fledgling at the time. So how much older is he than Shade?

Moon is only maybe five or six turns older. Moon was considered as fully mature after he fathered a clutch.

And is a "turn" of the Three Worlds roughly equal to an Earth year?

No, it's somewhat longer, maybe more like a year and a half.


Audible is doing an MP3-CD set for The Cloud Roads to be released in May. I don't know yet if they're doing an audio version of The Edge of Worlds. It depends on a couple of factors, including sales of the audio version of previous books in the series (Stories of the Raksura I and Stories of the Raksura II) and sales of the hardcover and ebook of The Edge of Worlds.


Signed Books: if you want a complete-so-far signed Raksura set, I have a signing for The Edge of Worlds at Murder by the Book in Houston, TX, on Saturday April 9 at 4:30, where I'll be co-signing with J. Kathleen Cheney whose new fantasy is Dreaming Death. You can preorder our books (including all the previous Raksura books and Kathleen's Shores of Spain trilogy) at that link and get them signed and personalized, and then shipped to you.


PSA for Reviews: If you liked a book or didn't like it, it really does help to leave reviews. This is especially important on Amazon where the number of reviews control how often the book shows up in searches and suggestions. Reviews on Barnes and Noble, other retailers, and GoodReads and LibraryThing, or just on your own blog, twitter, FB, tumblr, etc help too and are much. much appreciated. (Or if you want to take a picture of the book with your cat or something and post it, that's just cool for me to see.)

PSA for Libraries: You can also look for my books at your local library, and if they don't have a book, request that they buy it for their collection, or see if they can get it through interlibrary loan. (Remember that many libraries have ebooks now too.)
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
Shycat (tawnykit) asked: Can you tell us more about the Fell/Raksura hybrids? How many live at Opal Night, and how many of those are related to Moon? How are they doing? Are there others in the world, and are they corrupt like we saw in The Cloud Roads, or are any wanting to be free of their Fell family? For that matter, if you took a baby Fell and raised it "good," would it still be corrupt? How strong is Nature vs Nurture for Fell and Raksura?

I don't want to answer too many of these questions, because some of this gets dealt with in The Edge of Worlds. The half-Fell at Opal Night are fine, and only Shade and Lithe are directly related to Moon. Besides Shade, there were six Arbora, counting Lithe.

And basically with the Fell, it's the mental connections to the progenitor and the rulers that control behavior. If those connections are broken early, or never established, then the individual Fell is able to determine its own behavior and make its own choices. This is not something the Fell realized when they bred with Raksura, and those offspring don't have the mental connection to the progenitor.

Also, is Selis happy somewhere? I'd love to find out what she did after Moon and Jade left her. Thank you for taking the time to answer people's questions!

Yes, she's living in a city inside Imperial Kish. I might do a story about her sometime, because she's really a fun character. And you're welcome!


The Edge of Worlds is already shipping in hardcover and people who preordered should be getting it now. The ebook is still scheduled to drop on the actual publication date of April 5.

And as you probably know, reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing, Barnes & Noble etc really, really do help. The number of reviews and ratings on Amazon is a huge factor in whether the book gets promoted within their system. (There's some disagreement about the numbers, but it's usually 20-25 that's the first magic number to trigger the book getting into the system that will suggest it to other readers.) So if you have time and you're moved to do a review anywhere, I'd really appreciate it. (And I don't read reviews, so if you didn't like it, you won't hurt my feelings.) And if you really liked it, posting about it helps word of mouth which is basically the only promotion the books get.

Anyway, I hope everyone getting it early is enjoying it!
marthawells: Cover for the Cloud Roads, Art by Matthew Stewart (The Cloud Roads 2)
Rachel Smith asked I've always wondered where the inspiration for the Raksura came from. I don't recall ever seeing you talk about that.

It didn't really come from any one moment or place. It was in the period where I was having my career crash. The Gate of Gods had come out but the publisher hadn't put any effort into it and had told me they weren't interested in any other books, unless maybe possibly no promises I wanted to do a Laurel K. Hamilton type of urban fantasy, and I didn't want to do that. Stargate Atlantis: Entanglement had come out but I wanted to get back to fantasy, and I couldn't seem to sell anything else to save my life.

I started several books that all died on the vine, but the theme of a character who didn't know who they were kept trying to come up, though it never went anywhere. I also had an image I really liked of a place with shallow seas and a lot of islands, but I couldn't get anything to happen in it. I tried again with a book, trying to combine ideas from two or three of the dead novels, with the idea of the lost character who came from another world, from a race of shapeshifting demon-like people. He had been captured and pulled into a steampunk-ish world of the story by a sorcerer, and rescued by another group of characters who needed him for something but didn't realize quite what he was. I think I wrote about fifty pages of that book, but I was working on the backstory of the shapeshifter character, and finally realized that backstory was a lot more interesting then what I was doing with the other characters. So I threw out that book again, and started over with Moon, carrying a dead vargit back to the compound of the people he was living with. I wanted something to set the tone of the world immediately, and came up with a flying island, and bob's your uncle.

And originally the Raksura had a more basic material culture. I had the idea of the mountain-trees, but there was no interior, they actually lived in the branches. The current culture they have had evolved by the time Moon and Stone reached the Sky Copper court.


You may have to log on to Twitter to see this, but this is the gorgeous original art for The Edge of Worlds by Yukari Masuike:

And there's a GoodReads giveaway here:

eBook Sale

Mar. 18th, 2016 01:18 pm
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)

Stories of the Raksura 2 novella collection is on sale for $1.99 on US Kindle:

and Nook

I don't know how long it will last, it's up to the publisher.


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